Shaquille O'Neal enjoyed unprecedented dominance over his 19-year career.
The 15x All-Star, 4x Champion, and first-ballot Hall-of-Famer has been described as impossible to guard in the past, and it makes sense. Aside from being 7'1" and over 300 pounds, he had a certain strength and natural skill that had never been seen before.
In a sit-down with Gilbert Arenas on the "No Chill" podcast, former NBA All-Star Kenyon Martin pegged O'Neal as the toughest player to guard of all time.
“No guard here man like father time can guard Shaq. So trust me like there was no stopping that man dog, just no. The only player ever did not shoot anything outside of the paint. Just think about it – they put in rules because of him.”
Indeed, Shaq was a monster in his heyday who was able to back up his size and natural abilities by winning on the court.
In Los Angeles, he captured three straight titles with Kobe Bryant as a Laker, who stand (to this day) as the last team to ever three-peat. In Miami, he was even able to win one with Dwyane Wade towards the tail end of his career.
Of course, O'Neal was dominant in Orlando, too, and the legend still takes pride in being the last one to beat Michael Jordan in the playoffs.
"Everybody is going to say that he came back from baseball, but my thing is that if you step on that court and I know he has the same mentality if you are on that court, that means you are ready to go. The next year they came back, demolished us, and made sure we didn’t win a game. I’m sure he was rusty when he came back, but he didn’t suck."
Needless to say, Shaquille O'Neal was a hard man to stop, and it makes a lot of sense that Martin (and others) would pick him as the toughest to guard.
Today, Shaq is still praised for his amazing achievements and hailed as an example for all bigs to follow.